The Dynamism of USSD Logic

People have always had the desire to communicate. That has not changed even with the advent of mobile phones and text messages. What is changing is the way people consume information, and this, ultimately, has had an effect on the way they communicate. Many businesses have caught onto this and have adapted how they share their information with their customers. This is where USSD comes in.

USSD is an acronym for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data; and might I add, this acronym is cool. Going forward I will refer to this work of genius as USSD. USSD allows users with or without a smartphone or data/internet connection to use a code provided by a service provider to access a menu with data or action points; all of which is referred to as logic. The code comes in the form of an asterisk digit/digits and hash, *384#. There are various forms of the structure but we shall explore that on another day. USSD codes, as they are commonly known, are issued by regulators in various countries to users or to telcos for various use cases.

Traditionally, USSD was used by telcos as a means to offer its subscribers a way to automatically recharge their pre-paid service as well as check their airtime balance. However, over the years, we have seen USSD codes being featured in use cases across different economic sectors such as betting, marketing, agriculture, banking, fintech, health-tech, customer care services, e-commerce among many others.

We would like to explore existing use cases and how some of our clients have leveraged the dynamism of USSD logic to enrich how they share information with their customers, thereby enriching their businesses and enhancing service deliverability.


10bet Promotional Campaign (10bet.com)

Mobile betting has revolutionized the industry, and the convenience obtained is unmatched. In the betting industry, USSD is used to place a bet, check odds, withdraw and deposit funds. Betting companies such as 10bet use Africa’s Talking’s shared USSD code to provide service accessibility to millions of punters across the continent in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Nigeria.


© GIZ/Joerg Boethling (giz.de)

In the agriculture industry, USSD is most commonly used to pass on information to farmers where internet penetration is not prevalent. A brilliant example of this in play is through one of our clients, GIZ, an international cooperation organization from Germany in Francophone Africa who uses USSD to disseminate information to farmers in Benin and Togo on best agricultural practices as well as on how to maintain soil structure.

Transport & Logistics

Gozem — Africa’s Super App (gozem.co)

When it comes to transportation, our client, Gozem, is blazing the trail as Africa’s #1 Super App. With USSD, they have provided their users across Francophone West and Central Africa with on-demand transportation, delivery, and cashless payment solution. More like Uber or Taxify but now on a USSD code.

It is indeed amazing to behold the communication innovations displayed within the continent, and we are confident that we will witness the positive transformation of Africa in our lifetime. We can’t wait to see what the continent develops within the USSD logic space.

If you would like to learn more about taking advantage of USSD and scaling your client communication in Africa while maintaining the seamlessness and professionalism of relaying information, reach out to us at info@africastalking.com.

Africa’s Talking is a Pan African tech company that works on helping developers in Africa make their ideas come to life with ease. We do this by giving them access to communication and payments infrastructure through easy-to-use APIs.

Want to explore our APIs? Learn more about us, reach us at info@africastalking.com, and join the conversation on Slack!